2013-09-18. Germany’s Effort at Clean Energy Proves Complex.

posted Sep 22, 2013, 8:32 PM by Alan Gould
For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: It is an audacious undertaking with wide and deep support in Germany: shut down the nation’s nuclear power plants, wean the country from coal and promote a wholesale shift to renewable energy sources.  But the plan, backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and opposition parties alike, is running into problems in execution that are forcing Germans to come face to face with the costs and complexities of sticking to their principles. ...Ms. Merkel, of the traditionally conservative and pro-business Christian Democrats, came up with her plan in 2011, in the emotional aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. It envisions shutting down all of Germany’s nuclear plants by 2022 and shifting almost entirely to wind and solar power by 2050. ...The cost of the plan is expected to be about $735 billion, .... One of the first obstacles encountered involves the vagaries of electrical power generation that is dependent on sources as inconsistent and unpredictable as the wind and the sun. And no one has invented a means of storing that energy for very long, which means overwhelming gluts on some days and crippling shortages on others that require firing up old oil- and coal-burning power plants. That, in turn, undercuts the goal of reducing fossil-fuel emissions that have been linked to climate change.... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/19/world/europe/germanys-effort-at-clean-energy-proves-complex.html. By Melissa Eddy and Stanley Reed, New York Times.